Category Archives: philosophy/mysticism

Deep State Blues (1/3)

I guess, in my own way, I’ve been aware of something odd about our government here in the United States of America,  I don’t mean to single the U.S. as somehow unique in this way, it is simply the only country with which I am familiar.  The perspective of those that think of the United States as some how exceptional and indispensable seem as though they have fallen into some kind of a trap that has effectively blinded them.  Throughout my few years at the university I had always had a sense that there was something more to the way we were ruled other than the obvious visible government.  You can use what ever term you like, Illuminati, Shadow Government, Deep State  or maybe the Lizard Banksters from Draco.  Many of us have always had that sense that there is something we are missing, not detecting, something obvious.

My Mother, whether she meant to or not, added to this sense, for her the thing that really tripped her trigger was the Kennedy assassination followed by the gulf of Ton kin incident.  For her father it was remember the Maine.  For me it was Iran Contra.  College and I had parted ways and I was out in the world working as a Grease Scraper and a Shit Shoveler.  I would not have minded either job with full time employment if I made enough for Rent, food and utilities.  That means no automobile and no medical and I didn’t have a television or a telephone so I was pretty far out of the loop.  No cable meant no C-span and no newspaper meant no regular coverage yet I still managed to pick up bits and pieces here and there.  Over the years I have stumbled back into the topic with fair regularity.  I would become familiar with the term Deep State some years later.  In this case I am referring to Peter Dale Scott and although I haven’t read his books I have listened to several lectures and interviews and have found myself perplexed.  What is the Deep State and what purpose does it serve?

Generally, when ever I hear some one speak of the Deep State it is always with respect to the elected Federal Government, bureaucratic aspects of said government, Intelligence Agencies with a focus on CIA and NSA and finally the Military Industrial Complex.  The purpose these agencies serve is always nefarious if not out right malevolent.  I feel that this is only a partial description and I need a better model if I want to get any kind of real use out of the concept.

There are a couple of criteria a social structure must meet before it can be considered a part of the Deep State.  Firstly it must fall into one of these categories:  Public Governance (Federal, State and some large cities or densely populated counties), Corporate Governance ( Corporations are anti democratic institutions, national or international in nature and bureaucratic),   Large religious organizations (national or international), Centers of Economic, Military, Spiritual, Legal or Cultural importance not previously mentioned, along with organized movements (Labor, Anti War, Civil Liberties, Human rights and other community organizations), and finally organized Crime (national or international).  The second Criteria is that these organizations need physical structures such as buildings, by laws, guidelines, legal paper work or mission statements and complex bureaucracies. It can be quickly noted that some institutions fulfill several elements of the first set of criteria for example the Federal Government is also a center of Military, Economic and Legal importance.  The larger and more complex these social structures appear is directly proportional to the age of the institution in question.  A Good example of this would be the Catholic Church which is a vast bureaucracy involving well over a billion people at some level in and organization that has interests in centers of Spiritual, Economic and cultural.influence.

The larger and largest of these entities has a public face.  This public face maybe an individual or a group of individuals who are known by name or this face could be something imagined, sort of a abstracted blank even including something as simple as a logo in which can be seen any given spectators particular view of this entity.  All things that we perceive in the world around us are always colored by our individual world view.  This public face, whether it belongs to a real person or some abstracted blank is a mental substitute for the organization or institution they/it represents.  The reality is that these various entities that have been previously mentioned are actually populated by hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands and in some cases hundreds of thousands individuals operating at various levels and in various capacities.  They are like a human body where the individual cells are replaced by individual people.  Each of these people have their own world view.  It can be said that there is a basic world view that the bulk of a stable culture largely hold in common though any given individual may shift to one side of the other as our world view is colored by our assumptions about the world and our role in it both as individuals as well as a company or a nation and it is also colored by our experiences.  With in these entities or institutions the various individuals at various levels align with each other along a  shared point of view and shared interests so that it could be said that there is a realm of internal politics that most of us are completely unaware of, this is just the beginning of understanding the deep state.

It is much easier to imagine an old forest with its tall trees both great and small.  Most of us live on the forest floor and our perception of these vast institutions is limited to the stretch of trunk that we can see.  If we tip our gaze skyward we can see the canopy where each tree occupies a space, a sphere of influence or interest, and that many trees overlap each other here or there, none-the-less our view is from the bottom and we cannot see the entirety of the canopy though we understand that it is there and sometimes can even see the interrelationships.  Beneath our feet are the roots of the various trees.  These roots are beyond our ability to sense, it is under our feet where these roots tangle and compete for resources.  This is the best way I can illustrate what I mean by the term Deep State.

I’ve been watching the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence investigation into the Russian Hack Ordeal.  Specifically the testimony of Attorney General Comey and Admiral Rogers director of NSA.  Its quite fascinating and if you are wide awake and have about four hours to burn you might want to check it out.  I find the language usage intriguing as there is lots of talk of National Security, Classified Documents, Protecting the American Citizenry along with a healthy dollop of conspiracy theories and righteous outrage.  Apparently Russia is our sworn enemy, just hates us and wants to destroy our Democracy, take away our freedom, if you will.  I would like to believe that we really are a free people but I am a bit confused.  How can a free person be charged with treason?  Just curious, not that it was talked about during the testimony, the thought just kept popping into my head.  I am I not free to believe as I see fit, to have the politics I choose, to work where I want, to form friendships and alliances as I see fit, I mean if I am truly free?  We throw that word around a lot, freedom, liberty, rights and just plain free.

I understand a criminal act like assault or murder, burglary or fraud for example but these are acts against another person.  By exercising my right to speak freely what person am I harming.  By smoking a cigarette or taking a shot of vodka or discussing politics with a friend from a foreign land what person am I harming?  Is it the other citizens or our fair country?  Could it be our own Government?  Is the Government here to protect us and our rights?  How can my exercising my rights be treason in any form?  Maybe it is because the government is also a person and the government has rights too.  We all already known this is true of The Corporation both for and not for profit as well as Religions.  There are a bunch of large powerful paper people out there among us mere mortals.  This brings me back to the hearing and the testimony concerning classified information or secrets.

As far as Director Comey (FBI) and Director Rogers (NSA) attitudes towards the Representatives present, they were friendly.  What was interesting was what they were prepared to answer such as how an individual could be unmasked, the protocols concerning such, and how many people each were aware of that had the ability to reveal the identity of a masked subject of surveillance and general questions about the processes.  It was the scope of such questions directed at Comey (FBI) that bled over into his knowledge of the Justice department of which he was uncertain.  From my point of view Justice falls under the auspices of the Attorney general so his (Comey’s) lack of knowledge wasn’t particularly surprising.  What I found most interesting was the non-answers or the diplomatic way of saying no comment.  Neither Comey (FBI) nor Rogers (NSA) would respond to hypothetical questions.  This quickly became abbreviated to “I won’t answer hypos.  The next “No Comment” was “I can’t comment on actual people,” or “Real names.”  I thought that was understandable, I could also understand the “I can’t comment on hypos as well.  Finally, the last “No Comment” Response was, and I am paraphrasing here, with respect to the release of classified documents through leaks, printed in newspapers particularly the New York Times was, “I can’t comment on the quality of classified leaks as to whether they are true or not because by doing such I would reveal which pieces of information were actually classified and that would violate my confidentiality oath.”  This was also understandable.  The “No Comment answers made a great deal of sense but that left me slightly unsettled.  In a time of Fake News and Alternative facts it quickly became apparent that I could not count on anyone with a security clearance to be honest with me or the public as it were about the quality of the information.  In essence, whether either director meant to of not, they said to me, us, in no uncertain terms that any time any expert with those clearances speaks they should be automatically suspected of bullshitting us.

How are we as American’s suppose to know what is true and what is not?  It gave me the strange sense that I, us or we were the enemy not Russia or China or Islamic Extremism.  This is an uncomfortable feeling.  Call me paranoid if you must.  How are we to know and trust our government if it is so easy for them to deny we concerned citizens the facts.  During a time when trust in our government is fading I think this is an important issue.

Opposite the Directors FBI and NSA was a surprising number of the membership of the House Permanent Select Committee on intelligence (HPSI) and they were far more interesting in their statements and questions.

The first Two that stand out to me are Representative Sewel and Representative Gowdy.  I have no idea which district either of the two represents and from my point of view it doesn’t matter.  Representative Sewel articulated clearly, point by point, each statement in the form of a question.  These were Rhetorical Questions which is a way of saying a statement that the listener is supposed to agree with or should be persuaded by.  In the case of Sewel these statements sounded like articles of impeachment.  I assume that she is a democrat but I don’t know if that is true.  I don’t feel the need to research it any further.  Both directors answered “No Comment,” To each statement.  She seemed young to me though again I could be mistaken, but her Rhetorical approach was impressive and I look forward to listening to her in the future as she gains experience and polish.  None the less Rep. Sewel was clearly partisan and obvious.

Representative Gowdy on the other hand took a more technical approach to the argument concentrating on the legal/bureaucratic side of the issue. lawyer to lawyer as it were.  He was in the form of and told in a mildly scolding tone insisting diplomatically that Comey resolve this issue with all haste.  The issue itself was becoming a problem and impeding the day to day running of the government.  I assume that Gowdy is a republican though I don’t know that to be true, not that it matters.  I am beginning to think that Gowdy is a politician to watch.  He is clever and tactically sophisticated.  First of all he took the Republican side or the argument but did so in such a way as to make it sound like the issue was something other than the administration.  That means that he supports the party and the President without attaching his person to the person of the President.  As any one can see President Trump is getting off to a pretty rocky start.

Finally there are two other representatives I feel that are worthy of mention, They are Mr. Turner and Dr. Wenstrup.  I surely hope I am spelling their names correctly.  Representative Turner opened his questions and slowly moved into the question of under what circumstances can a counter intelligence case be opened.  Translation:  When can the FBI or other intelligence agency begin secretly spying on me?

The exchange was frustrating for the Representative as Comey was unwilling to answer Hypos.  Representative Turner insisted that these weren’t hypos.  Comey gave in and answered a few and his responses weren’t the least bit alarming.  James Comey went along way to creating a feeling that the FBI, at least, still had some morals and ethics in the day to day running of their organization,  None-the-less Representative Turner slipped and poorly worded a question I think and his time ran out.  By the time he reclaimed some time he had lost his momentum.

It was shortly after this that Doctor Wenstrup picked up the same line of questioning and even gave an example of a meeting he had attended, where he met the Iraqi Ambassador.  Again there was some contention but I wouldn’t say it was heated, not even for pretend.  Eventually Comey came to the point in the Representatives questioning where he simply replied, “The FBI doesn’t give advisory opinions.”  I’m not sure that quote is exact.  Representative Wenstrup responded, “Then I’ll find out about it afterwards?”  again I am not sure that is a solid quote so consider it a paraphrase.

Comey Stated simply, “You’ll never find out about it.”  That I feel pretty sure is an actual quote, according to my notes.

Rep.  Wenstrup responded, “Unless I find out about it in the newspaper.”

And there it is, the issue that was pestering these two representatives enough that they felt the need to bring it up and/or they were sure that this bothered their constituents enough to discuss it.

This is an open Hearing, so everything here is for public consumption.  Every time you hear something like, “I don’t want to get into that here,” or “I’d like to save that for the closed session,” or “I’d like to wait for classified session before we get into that,” and so on that is a comment on content that isn’t for your ears or mine for that matter.  So what was the purpose of this thing and the other things like it?

Largely it gives the members of the committee an opportunity to speak directly to their constituents, the larger population who might be interested and to get their views into the congressional record so that when that big ball of shit rolls around, you know the one, we call them elections here, they can insist they did this or that, show the voters their speeches and other proof of their effort as a tool of persuasion.  What are they trying to tell the voters watching?  Where on the spectrum of the debate around President Trump and the issue of personal privacy as well as Security issues, they stand.  This message is for a particular group of people, those who are interested, generally, but not always, they are politically active, better than average in education, higher then average in income and in surprisingly influential positions especially once you get out of the big cities.

The real purpose of these inquiries was nicely stated when discussing the Russia Hack Ordeal and all though I don’t remember who said it I did write it down.  The purpose of the hack was “to create discord and division among the American People and to undermine our wonderful American Democracy.”  One member of the committee stated that the purpose was to put a cloud over the administration.  If you do decide to listen to this thing you will notice some distinct militaristic language.  The idea that the Russian Hack, if it happened, was an act of war.  This was in its own right quiet fascinating.  War is a powerful concept.  It is a word that evokes a strong range of emotions.  If you should watch this thing just keep in mind that what they are doing is Framing the Debate.

The Frame is the field in which the conversation can exist, it sets the terms the potential outcomes, who is good who is evil is both reductionist and dualistic in nature.  That is not to say this is some kind of a conspiracy, that the committee sat down in a smoke filled room(?)  or maybe at an organic Juice bar (?) and figured all this shit out, scripted the whole deal.  This arises from the individual members interests, one of which will be the 2018 election.  Regardless of their party the interests between one representative and another aren’t really that different.  There are some noteworthy exceptions but they are far and few between and don’t have much hope for a stellar career in politics.  For the most part the belt way people swim in the same water, breathe the same air eat from the same supply of food.  Believe me when I say they know what their interests are, do you?”

The purpose pf the Frame is to limit the debate, sort of like the climate debate frame.  You either believe that CO2 produced by humanity causes global warming or you are a climate change denier.  There is no real middle ground and no room for debate beyond those previous agreed conclusions.

In the Case of the Russian Hack Ordeal the frame is that Trump won because of outside interference not because of a change in the voting habits of the citizenry.  If this particular Frame takes then you are either a patriotic American who Believes that Trump won the election with the Help of an  enemy nation or you are a Russian Sympathizer and again there will be no middle ground.  This is the kind of frame that serves as a get out of jail free card for both houses of congress if the Frame takes and that remains to be seen.

Of course, it goes with out sating that I very well could be completely full of shit.  If someone were to accuse me of such I would be forced to admit no contest.

In any case have a better than average day.

The Nut Never falls very Far…?

I find that I hear that expression or some variation to it quite often.  Nut, apple or Hand grenade it doesn’t really matter the idea is that it never falls far from the tree. the family tree in this case.  I was born in the last year of the Baby boom, 1964 and I am aware that there are some out there whom feel that we boomers have had it way too easy and maybe they are right. But of course I am not a millennial or a gen X er so when I look back I think about my mother and father and even my grand parents. My grandparents where grown during WWII and I even had an great Uncle that served in the pacific theater. My Mom was a college graduate and my old man served in peace time in the navy among other things and eventually settled in a fat factory job in my home town. To hear Dad or my Maternal Grandfather talk about it, it all came down to planning and scrimping and saving and working hard.

I worked hard, I scrimped, I planned, how come none of my aspirations came true? Why was I unable to accomplish the simple goals I had set out for myself such as graduate college, work for a short time in the field and then return for a higher degree? Maybe none of this was a question of my bad luck or lack of effort, maybe it was a question of their good luck and lack of effort. It is even possible to admit that with all the effort in the world some has to be said for timing, luck. Nothing is accomplished in the American sense through just hard work.

None of this is really here of there, its just a way to get across just how far a skew my life’s journey has gone. Some times I even wonder if all those people from those not so distant years ago were even real. That instead they might be some figment of my baffled brain. That’s just the way it feels until I hear their voices squeak out from between my lips. For some time I used the word Evidently in stead of “I think so,” and would while on kitchen duty, swamped with complaints about how terrible the food I had prepared was I would hear my self make a noise my maternal grandmother would make under the same circumstances. I found it a bit unsettling at first just how foreign these sounds and words, uttered by my own mouth, sounded. It was as if My grandmother were speaking to me from beyond the grave through my own memories. I hum when I eat, a habit I am trying to break, like my Maternal grandfather did years ago. It was at his knee that I learned what I know about the investment markets before I even started High school. I can feel his influence in the way I think about the world and in the manner in which I assess risk. My father taught me about the importance of PRESENCE as that was his game. The ability to intimidate simple by the way you stood, where you put your hands and when the chips are done, nothing sends shivers down there spine as fast as a nice toothy smile. I learned the reverse as well, how not to intimidate, how to appear safe or harmless and most importantly how to assess who represented what level of danger when I was walking on the streets. My Mother was an intellectual snob with a gift for sarcasm, this I inherited from her and there are I times when I find myself repeated some thing she said over three decades ago verbatim , or so it seems…

The strange thing to me is that they are all dead, so in some way people really do live on not just n the memory of others but in their very personalities.  I sometimes wonder what remnants have been passed to me from the distant past from people unknown to any involved. the pieces of themselves handed down by the unsuspecting.  How much of me is in the strictest sense, is actually me and not someone else transplanted.  This is a question that is impossible to answer.  “To Thy Own self be true,” is a famous quote from Shakespeare.  That’s how I remember it but hell I could be wrong.  I’m pulling this stuff out of my ass after all and I could be mistaken.  It leaves an unsettling question which is, how can you be true to yourself if you do not know yourself?  I have spent a great deal of time an effort, through meditation and simple introspection trying to understand myself, know myself and it has become apparent to me that there will always be parts of me that I will never know.  This is painfully obvious when someone points out a quirk of my behavior that I was previously unaware of, this I appreciated.  Whether one finds such a thing ,an event, that they appreciate or that they find irritating is dependent on the personalities involved.   Meta, my wife, is a person I wanted to get to know well.  She has been a project of mine, to know her moods, to grasp when there is something bothering her that she needs to speak about but maybe feels that she cannot.  If there are aspects of myself I cannot know then how much of her can I truly know?  There must be aspects to her self that are hidden from me.  This is a profound truth that everyone needs to grasp.

There is a point to this, I think.

We had been married for some few years and one of the hobbies we both enjoyed was and is camping.  At this time I can’t say exactly when this event happened.  There were others but this was the most profound and crisp as it was the first.  We were camping at a place called Hearts Content in the Allegheny’s.  I remember it because over the first night we were there, in early summer, a strange crop of fungus had popped up all around our campsite.  I believe that these strange little critters were fungus but I wouldn’t bet on it.  I want to say that they came up over night but maybe they were there the first day and we just didn’t “see” them.  At any rate we had taken and interest in these strange pale pink little life forms and were walking out farther in the brush in out effort to survey them.  We were talking about something that escapes my recollection.  I remember looking at her.  She was looking back at me.  She was smiling.  It was the strangest thing.  I am a schizophrenic and I have become accustom to strange visual effects but this was most peculiar.   She had become two dimensional in a surreal sense, still in color but yet foreign.  I was struck by the fact that I knew nothing about the woman that I had been married to for, by that time three or four years.  She was a stranger.  I remember asking her, pointing my finger from she to me, “Were Married?  That’s right isn’t it?”

She said yes.

I explained that I had just had the intense experience that she was unknown to me.  She told me to just let it slid.  She had the same experience on occasion when she looked at me.  We both agreed that it was an uncomfortable feeling.

In the end you can’t truly know anyone.  Knowing is a work in progress, it never ends.  We are finally confronted with the odd fact that it is impossible to eliminate risk in our personal relationships.  We will lose those we love, we will be betrayed and we will betray.  All we have left is to simply trust.  It is on trusting where the greatest threat, the most dangerous risk lies.  But in the en d we must take that risk if we want to live a meaningful life.

Be Blessed in all things

Desiderata

This has gotten me through some bleak and dark times. I am under the impression that others are now or are about to face times like these themselves on a scale that I don’t believe we have seen in some time, more than my life time.  Kt isn’t the end of the world but we all need something at times like these.  With this in mind I leave this prayer, though it can be used for reflection, an affirmation or m meditation.  I hope it helps yo9u as much as it did me.

 

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there maybe in silence.  As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.  Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.  If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; dor always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.  Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.  Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.  But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.  Especially, do not feign affection.  Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.  Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress yourself with imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.  Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and he stars; you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, there is no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  Be cheerful.  Strive to be happy.

 

 

I have no idea who originated this prayer and I believe that it is public domain.  It it is not I apologize.

 

In all things, be blessed.

Understanding Power Part II

I tend to think of Part I as Simple power while Part II deals more with complex power.

Before I continue I wold once again like to state that I believe that every human being has the right to defend themselves.  It should be understood that some believe that a good offense is the best defense but the moment that one makes the argument for any form of preemption in the name of self defense that one should always suspect that it is, in reality, an argument for aggression.

Complex power, for the sake of thus discussion is dependent on developed societies in order to exist.  Developed societies is a polite way of saying civilized.  Civilized societies have institutionalized structures, the peculiarity of division of labor and more often than not hierarchical leadership structures.  These concepts are all part of the discipline of sociology a part of academia I sort of backed my way into in an informal sense.  The first limitation I wish to place on this form of moderate power is that it is an aspect of social systems whose reach could be the size of a county, a township, a municipality,. a state or providence, a medium sized corporation, a small religious tradition or even a small country.  The key in understanding scale is firstly realizing that these entities have little or no ability to project power much beyond the region in which they dwell.  This inability to project power and the small scale of this tier of power allows the people who both compose the organs of the system or systems as well as the individuals that cohabit with the system to know each other or at least have the possibility of knowing each other.

Television, mass media and yes, even the internet create the illusion of knowing another person but that is not the same, for the sake of this discussion, of knowing a person in the sense of sharing any given three dimensional space.  The holders of power and the rest of the population can actual be on good speaking terms, go to each others birthday parties, visit each other when they are sick and attend functions both social, educational or managerial.  This is an effort to get across the scale of these intermediate systems.  Let it be understood that just because you can or the possibility exists to share 3D space with a person doesn’t mean that you do, only the possibility must exist in a probable and realistic manner for it to qualify.

Also in the realm of intermediate power there is at least the illusion of accountability for those who hold said power’s actions.  What this means is that if a person who holds a position of power commits a crime in the codified sense then there are criminal consequences or at the very least the illusion of consequences.  This means a trial and the possibility of prison just like those of us who live around, under or work with in said system.  What is important here is that the illusion of consequences be realistic so that it could be said that on occasion some one has to pay the piper as it were.

So what are the prerequisites to hold said power?

Power can be obtained several ways,  it could be a question of status of family, by election of your peers,by accreditation and possible do to personality and appearance (Charisma).

Here are a few quick illustrations.

Family Status is usually connected to both wealth and influence.  Those two things, wealth an d influence, regardless of the nation state or region you might examine, seem universal.  The was a gentleman, who had recently passed beyond the veil, that I had become familiar with through the local historical society.  His family was long established in my community and still held some considerable capital though not as much as they had in the past.  He worked as a middle school  principal.  He was always being quoted in the paper as though his thoughts on our little community had any real relevance and he traveled to Washington D.C.  once a month for some sort of a panel at the capital.  This was mentioned as an aside and I didn’t pry.  There is no doubt that he had much experience that would have been valuable to any inquiry specifically round the topic of education.  I am also certain that most people who have been seriously involved in education for any reasonable length of time would also have ideas and experiences that would be equally valuable.  I was left wondering why the preference?

My grandfather was also a school teacher and a high school coach, basket ball, Football and base ball.  His power came from accreditation as he was the first person in the state of Ohio to earn a masters degree in education.  He also had a gift for turning some coin in the world of investing so he was something of a self made man.  He too held a great deal of sway in my small city.  He could get people, especially minors out of jail on his word alone.  He had the ear of judges, lawyers, doctors, members of law enforcement, school teachers and even people in the government at the state level.  This power was able to change someone in my locality circumstances when it came to their status with the various systems that govern the world in which I lived.  He also held elected office in my small city.

And we must not forget Doctors, They have power too. They have the power to not take you as a patient.  If you should pass from inability to receive medical care they will not be held liable in any way though they may be held liable in the case of malpractice thus the illusion of consequences.  People will talk about health care reform (Health Care affordability and Portability Act) as though it has revolutionized access to medical services.  Down here where I live and most of my friends live the system has some serious kinks to be worked out.  People are having a harder time finding the kind and quality of care that they could before the Acts passage.  I have no idea what it is like in the big cities, I can only speak of the few cases of which I am aware.  This aside, I know of three cases where a Doctor decided they weren’t going to see a patient any more.  They did not state a reason why and continued to practice in the local community.  My point of view on this may seem a bit harsh and in all honestly I don’t care whether doctors only treat people that can afford their services and the rest be damned.  I am simply using it as an illustration of power.  Meta and I have debated whether or not the Hippocratic oath is still taken when doctors finish their education.  She feels that it is not, I feel that it is but it is nothing more than smoke and it been like that for a long time.

Then there is all that chatter over law enforcement with in the realm of police brutality.  I am mixed on this but for the sake of this conversation, if a person, due to the position they hold, can cripple or kill another human being under circumstances other  than self defense then what we are seeing is an example of power.  There are occasions when charges are brought against police officers for  improper use of force which creates the realistic illusion of accountability.

I’m sure that you can come with examples better than mine.  In any case, for what ever it was worth, i hope this was worth the time you spent reading it.

Understanding Power Part I

Before I Begin I want to say that I believe that every human being has the right to self defense.  Self Defense, in my view, does not include preemption.  You or I do not have the right to attack some one or aggressively defend ourselves against the notion of a potential threat.  This aggressive form of self defense also know as preemption isn’t really self defense.  Its aggression, its an attack, we would be going on the offensive.  We can’t just run around attacking people because we don’t like the way they look, that they make us nervous, have different beliefs or look at us funny.

None the Less I support an individual or a populations right to defend themselves by any means once they are under attack, once the lead starts flying as it were.

This is about understanding power and this first installment is about simple power.  I began this post with the statement that I believe in a person’s right to self defense because to a considerable extent simple power deals with the second amendment.  I am 51 years of age and the debate around the second amendment, gun control, has been going on as long as I can remember.  People older than me yet remember this debate as a sort of a back ground noise of their life.  First I’d like to admit that I support the second amendment.  This of course has caused me some concern as I have listened to the last round of debate on the issue of gun control.  It seems to me that the bulk of the people supporting the amendment and resisting any form of gun control make all gun control advocates look like lunatics.  There has been this phrase I have been hearing, now it may have been said in the past and often but this is the first time that I have heard it, and that phrase is “Gun Culture.”

What the Fuck does “Gun Culture” mean?  When I hear the term used, whether the speaker is a citizen of our fair country or a foreign devil, it sounds like some kind of a slam, an insult.  I really had to think on the term for a while to try and get a handle on it.  The internet as a tool for enlightenment was useless in this endeavor and there was no hard copy dictionary definition.  It was frustrating and annoying, all those grinning jar headed, glassy eyed, slack jawed idiots grinning and muttering the word “gun culture” left me with the same putrid feeling as some other pudding for brains, soft bottomed, over privileged turd using the term “White Culture.”

What were these phrases?  Where they some kind of a code, an inside joke, or the result of a group of demographers with a few carefully selected focus groups and their careful search for a phrase that would have some desired effect even though it didn’t actually mean anything?  The thing was, though it kept nagging at me something terrible, that the phrase “Gun Culture” does mean something.  We need to come to grips with the fact that if the citizenry of the United States did not possess military grade firearms in the distant past then our country would, in all likelihood, bear little resemblance to what it is today.  The destruction of the Native population, Genocide if you will, would have been impossible with out an armed citizenry.  The institution of Slavery, which went a long way to making the U.S. a rich country as only free labor can, also would have been impossible with out an armed citizenry.  I realize that these ideas may make people uncomfortable or uneasy but to say otherwise would be grossly unfair and dishonest.

The U.S. expansion into South and Central America after the Spanish American war, our participation in WW I and WW II would have been far less spectacular without a populous that was familiar with the use of fire arms.  Just imagine how quickly forces could be mobilized and fielded when the population already know how to use a gun then when they have to be trained from scratch.  Then of course there is F.D.R and the great depression.  Doctor Richard Wolf has a very interesting interpretation of Roosevelt’s New Deal policies and why they occurred.  It seems that the depression had brought our fair nation to the brink of civil war.  Back then not only where we armed we were also organized.  That’s a damn scary combination.  There were labor unions, political parties, progressives, Communists, Socialists, Antichrists and they shared members, meaning one person could be a member of more than on group union or party.  So when we retell the tale we simple talk about what a Commie FDR was because we most certainly don’t want to encourage the population of our fine nation to organize for a better life.  Maybe these kind of ideas are what is meant by the phrase “Gun Culture.”

In the past these far Left organizations use to scare the shit out of the government but decades of propaganda appealing to individual enrichment and anti union sediment have left our country with out a left wing any longer.  Now the concern is the far right, The Militia, Radical Religious Groups. and Anti Governmental organizations.  When I hear the media discuss these groups, which is rare since I don”t get cable in my home, they fix their side of the argument around the criminal threat and the threat of Terrorism if they are in favor of gun control and if they are against Gun Control them the argument revolves around protecting national sovereignty, defending our boarders (Illegal immigration) and being able to resist the government if it should get to big for its britches.  Then of course there are all the conspiracy theories around the NWO, Agenda 21, Chemtrails, death camps and the coming economic collapse and lets not forget about the Apocalypse although I am not sure what good guns will do a person if the world is ending.  At some point, when the debate turns serious it becomes simply, gun control prevents crime versus an armed citizenry prevents crime.  This is known as framing the argument.  Setting the terms of the debate so that no concept out side of the accepted spectrum of conversation can be discussed.  What is it they don’t really want to talk about?

The more I think about it the more its seems to be true.  What is it that guns represent to most people?  IN the simplest term guns, rifles or pistols represent power.  A firearm is the simplest form of power that any person can grasp.  It is power over your own life, power over other peoples lives, it is your independence and it is your ability to affect your world if you should feel the need.  We in the United States are an Nation of individuals so we lack the large organizations that other developed or Western nations have to affect change in their countries, all we have is fire arms.  It was while I sitting and thinking about this that I realized another very powerful tool we littel people have at our disposal.  That other powerful tool is the ability to say NO.  It is true that first few of us who say NO may pay with our lives.  It is also true that it is hard to say NO, especially to something or someone you care about.   Maybe it is just easier to pop a couple rounds off into a crowd.  Remember that the next time you decide to, or see footage of, somebody walking down the street with an AR 15 over their shoulder to protest for their right to bear arms.  I guess in the end its a lot easier for us to kill each other then it is to negotiate or organize or to simply say NO and stop participating.  Remember this the next time you witness a debate, whether in person or on television, as the discussion devolves into some ridiculous sensationalist piece of political theater that turns your stomach, because it should.

Those jar headed grinning idiots are trying to marginalize the whole of us because what the debate is about is power and taking away yours.  If you can’t own a fire arm legally, a weapon competitive with military hard ware, you can’t work up the courage to say NO and you refuse to organize, Well, what are you gonna do?  Where will you find your power?

Voices of the Dead

Its been a while since my last post, things of the end of summer and through the fall were just a bit out of hand and mind but I will save that for another time.

Please accept my apologies.

This early dark season festival many neopagans call Yule is a very important time for me.  This year I felt far from the advertised commercial feelings of the season and had come to a rest, as in a body at rest or in motion will resist any change to its state.  I hope I wasn’t too hard on Meta with my bah humbug and general blah sentiment.  I refer to it as melancholic as a way of differentiating it from out right depression.

I should be careful before I find myself babbling endlessly.

Any way, for me, in no way am I saying that any one else should see or relate to this season in a similar way,again, for me this is a time to reflect on all those that have come before, the family of my memory, and it is also a time to look forward.  The whole thing has a strange quiet soberness to it and this Christmas/Yule here in the north of Ohio where the cold chill freezes breezes sound from the air, or at least this seems the case.  You know its cold when you don’t here any gunshots.

My past, the time before the time now, the time when I still possessed a great hope and powerful will and had submitted to the great beliefs of our land.  These are memories of a first life, though I breathe the air with the same lungs now as I had then, or felt the rain with same skin now as then.  It was a time when I operated under the delusion that I was sane.  Now it feels still like I live a different life.  My mother bought this massive old Victorian house, a monstrosity, or white elephant as she liked to call it.  After two years of working on renovations we had began to have big thanksgiving gatherings.  Aunts Uncles, cousins, friends of the family so that there would be over twenty people in the large dining room most seated around that odd table that could be pulled to extend its length.  I’ve probably written about this event previously I honestly can’t remember.  Its Yule/Christmas/Chaunnika/Kwanza holidaze at the very beginning of the freezin’ season when I most dwell in those places in my memory where all those people still live.  Many are dead, the rest have moved far either to get away from members of the family that spooked them or to find better opportunities.  It matters not.

It is in this process of recollection that I feel those moments, moments that I know can never be recreated.  I know this is impossible yet I feel the need just like a chance meeting near a fairy circle.  Once you been in that space, if you are well wise, the memories are such that you desperately want to live them again even though it is very unlikely.  Fairies are capricious to say the least and rarely show favor to even the most friendly to their point of view more than once.  It is that which those old memories most remind me.  Images of grand parties like faerie lights or the wisps faint and odd in the distance.  It takes an effort to overcome the tendency to pick and choose the qualities we wish to remember.  A fair recollection is the most honest one you can keep.  Now that Dad had passed last year or the year before just a few days after his birthday I have no one left that remembers anything much about those times.

If I wasn’t all ready crazy I’d probably really feel like I was loosing my mind. As 99% of the memories I have worked so hard to keep have no counter point anywhere in the family.  I tell stories and no one recalls, no one remembers, no one cares.  I could be paranoid about the whole thing but I choose not.  Instead I choose, too much beer and drugs under their respective bridges or they simply forgot.  Through disinterest or as a way of avoiding emotional pain they simply let those events slide from the bright light of their mind’s eye and into the shadow.

Memory is like a garden, it has to be worked, cultivated and fed if you want it to be healthy and productive.

WHEN THE DEAD SPEAK,

IT’S VOICE IS LIKE THUNDER,

IT’S WORDS AND MESSAGES CREEP,

FROM PROFOUND SILENCES.

AND PLACES STRANGEST.

This fragment of a poem came out of this melancholic haze from that longest night of the year as I sat with my brother drinking beer and reflecting remembering and discussing our plans for the new year 2014.  It was then that the two times the dead left me a message seemed most profound.  In a surreal way they spoke directly to me through some sort of intermediary.  I do not necessarily attach any type of supernatural element to these messages.  Anyone may do so if they wish, but to my mind they found a most mundane path to deliver these messages to me.

The first incident was rooted during the time of my mothers wake and her burial.  She died in 1988 on the 2nd of december and was buried on the 6th, what was once known as Saint Nicholas day, her favorite feast on the catholic calendar other than the major catholic holidays.  I touched on this story in my work Living Inside schizophrenia which I as of yet have not gotten published.  My brother, this would be brother number three, my fourth brother had not as of yet became part of the family, was dating a young lady at that time.  She was very close to my whole family and went by the nickname Kimmie.  The Nickname Kimmie was given to her by my great aunt Ruth who has now for several years rested in the cold hard ground.  Apparently my mother and Kimmie had talked quite a bit, unbeknownst to me.  I lived in a different city at that tine and was desperately trying to scratch out some kind of an income from the world of minimum wage labor.  The university and I had decided to part ways, mostly it was the university’s decision.  This was my great failure in my own assessment.  It was my shame.  I quickly found work at a local fast food restaurant.  I had enough education that if I was honest on my applications for work then I was also over qualified for any better job.  Deception was never a preference of mine.

It was after the wake had ended and we all headed back to where ever we came from that my good friend Midnight Angel, a platonic friend, relayed this message to me.  She and Kimmie had spent some time on the side lines talking privately between themselves.  Kimmie stated that my mother had told her this: “At the time I washed out of college.  Went then and found a job and found an apartment and began to support myself she (My mother) had stopped worrying about me.  She was certain that I would be able to take care of myself.”

This could easily be considered hearsay.  Just as easily one might consider it as a made up thing simple stated to easy my strange grief.  I accepted the statement with the understanding that either of these may be true just as the message may have been accurate and true in its own right.  It didn’t seem really to matter as the message had little hard effect on me but yet I did manage to remember it.  It was a thing that held a great fascination for me.

The second case though is a bit stranger.  Meta, my wife, was doing research on her family history making use primarily of local resources.  One of these resources was the court records, especially the probate court.  She was looking up old probated wills from her family and asked me if she would like the wills from my mother and her father which I said I would.

Before I go on I should give some back story first.  Back in 1987 I was watching television and caught the news out of Columbus Ohio.  I believe it was Columbus although it just as easily could have been Detroit.  Where the news came from matters not, its one story during that broadcast that is important, at least it was to me at the time.  This story was about the Zimmer power plant that had been built in Cincinnati Ohio.  This was a joint project between Dayton Power and Light and a power company in Kentucky though honestly I couldn’t tell you its name.  Zimmer, the nuclear power plant, didn’t pass NRC regulations and was unsafe and would not be allowed to go on line.  It was a new power plant and had cost 9 billion dollars which the two companies had financed jointly.  DPL (Dayton Power and Light) was going to stop paying dividends and the price of the stock began to drop finally reaching almost 10 dollars a share.  It’s a power company so I knew that it would keep making money and as soon as the debt was paid it would start paying dividends again and the price would go back up.  I owned 538 or so shares of Centerior at the time and felt that I could easily sell two hundred of those shares and turn around and pick up three hundred of so shares of DPL.  I thought I was a good trade.  I decided to phone Dad and ask him to which he responded, in so many words, that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and I should leave my Centerior stock alone.

It was silly actually, calling to ask permission to sell stock that I owned.  In the long term he would be right, I didn’t know what I was doing as I would later piss the whole 538 shares away on an ill-conceived business idea.  To this day I don’t know why I would sell the stock to open up a tea room but not sell it to increase my portfolio.  There is definitely a sign of fractured logic there.

Back to Meta and her investigation of her family history.  She did eventually bring both my Grandfather’s will and my Mother’s will.  Grandfather’s will was extensive.  On the other hand Mom’s will was smaller. You see mom bought stock in round lots, increments of 100 shares, then she would enroll in the companies dividend reinvestment program.  So her stock was single entry with some odd number behind it, like Centerior 937 shares or Pepsi co. 549 shares or Pfizer 1293 shares, but one entry stood out.  It struck me like a hand across the cheek.  That entry was Dayton Power and Light 1000 shares at$10.66 a share.  Maybe dad told her about the phone call he had gotten from me and she bought it or maybe she saw the same or a similar news story and bought it because she knew it was a good investment.  DPL wouldn’t come around until a year or two or maybe even three after she died but it did come around.  It doesn’t matter whether the idea came from me directly or if she saw a similar or even the same story on the news.  Its says the same thing about the decision that I didn’t have the spine to make for myself, what it said was that I had a good idea.  That I would have been right to follow that course, that I am not an idiot and that I do know what I am doing, sometimes.  The startling thing is how I got the message.

If I had no recollection of the event itself then I would have never received the message.  The messages delivery depended entirely on my own memory.  I could be receiving these messages everyday and not know it because I don’t remember the important events that would allow the message to make sense.  You to could be experiencing the same thing yourself but lack the memory to hear.  By the good will of the divine keep those memories a live.  They to may contain important components of messages from the dead, messages many of us have yet to receive.

Doomsayers, The end of the world and the National Security State

People sure are acting wacked out lately.

Is it the end times?

I shake my magic eight ball…signs say maybe.  Tsk, tsk, not good.

So how will it all come to an end?

Planet killer asteroid (Don’t you love that, like just plain asteroid isn’t enough, its needs to be extra special),  Iran finally tests nuclear missile and accidentally blows self up sparking thermonuclear war?  Okay, that’s too much, lets just say nuclear war.  How about a global oven or a world wide ice box…how do you dress for something like that?  Super plague or alien invasion?  Economic and/or Enviormental collapse, possibly a diluation of crop diversity due to over use of GM seed?  Posioned flu shots?  Too much flourine in the water?  Reactor melt down…hell governmental meltdown, either would be severe.  Killer nano bots, supersoldiers, mutants, zombies, RFID chips, really the list goes on and on.  We could probably turn it into a parlor game.  People have been worrying over and predicting the end of the world since they figured out they could make such prophecies.

There is a lot of fear out there but then I think there always is, I remember back in college when the big deal was then polar shift and there was some talk then about global warming.  I went to college in the early 80s.  I think uncertainty and insecurity are greater causes of fear than most anything else except the fear of loss.  Loss of someone or something that is more than important to you but is an intergral part of your life.  As I look back over my short meager existance I begin to realize that the world I live in today looks almost nothing like the world in which I dwelt before 1988.  Lost a lot of family over the ten years before culminating with the death of my mother.  The family that remained and the relationships that were once so rich quickly decayed.  My brothers and father no longer even seemed to be the same people.

Houses and apartments I rented are gone, stores I frequented have vanished, friends whom claimed undying love and loyalty disappeared far back along the horizon.  It is in its own way the very nature of our fragile ever changing world.  We people, I think, like to think of the world as a stable static place and work hard to maintain that frame of reference in our minds.  So when something horrible happens it is a shock, regardless of how often it has happened in the past, we continued the struggle to gleen those horrific images and feelings from our minds and go on as though those risks don’t exist.  This is where we find ourselves trapped.  Every night when we go to bed, a world dies and when we awake in the morning we come to, in a new world.  True the differences may be slight or subtle but over time the changes can be profound until finally we, those of us who survive, say, where did all that time go?  I was twenty just yesterday, when did all this happen?  60, I can’t believe I’m 60, I never thought I’d live this long.

Being human means being vulnerable.

I would love to believe that there is some type of a fix that would remove those moments that bring so many terrible emotional pain but there isn’t.  I know this myself, several times over.  The world is uncertain, life is short, bad frightening things happen, we have little power to influence the reality in which we live…all of this is true.  So what to do?

Make your home sacred space and bring not the darkness from the outside in when you pass through the door.

Find more joy and ways to express it, even if it is something a simple as a party or as complicated as pursuing the arts.

Don’t be afraid to be different.

Don’t worry about what other people are thinking.

Be prepared to trust with the understanding that there in lies risk.

Finally, remember, you never know when the words you speak will be the last words.  Either your last words or the last words any given person might hear.  If you truly care about a person then make as many words as you can good words.  hesitate before you react emotionally.  Tell them you love them and understand that it isn’t for them that you express this, but for yourself.